Dickens. Without even taking a minute to think about, it's Dickens. I always liked his style, especially considering the time period when his novels were written. His Pickwick Papers was what put him at the top. It was his first novel but I only read it as his seventh -shame on me. He only wrote one book I disliked, and I think I am alone there, and that's David Copperfield - too long and too few moments to keep me engaged for very long. I had to force myself through it. I also enjoy historical fiction, and though I'm certain that Dickens didn't write them as historical novels :) , they are good Historical Fiction reads. Bleak House was the saddest novel he wrote, not because of the story, but because it was the last of his books I had left to read.